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MD Guilty of Involuntary Manslaughter, Felony Death by MV, DWI in Accident Involving Ballerina

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A former plastic surgeon from Raleigh, NC was found guilty of involuntary manslaughter, felony death by motor vehicle and driving while impaired. A jury in Wake County, NC reached the verdict today, March 1, 2011, after two days of deliberation.

Prosecutors argued that Raymond Cook drove drunk at speeds up to 100 mph before slamming into a car driven by 20-year-old Elena Shapiro in September 2009. The collision killed the young woman, an apprentice with Carolina Ballet. Ms. Shapiro was originally from Winston-Salem, NC.

Cook’s defense argued that he was not acting with malice, but prosecutors tried to prove that his speed and blood-alcohol content were both high enough to convict him of second-degree murder.

The jury began deliberations about an aggravating factor to consider in his sentencing, which should be determined this afternoon.

Well-educated and affluent professionals should never believe themselves above the law—especially not laws of nature. If you drink, speed and drive, you run a serious risk of harming yourself or someone else.